What if I missed my appointment?
Because of the short time frame between the CCRC appointment and the court hearing, another appointment cannot be scheduled. If the other party attends as scheduled, the mediation will go forward without your input. However, recommendations may not be made and you may be referred back to Family Court Services (FCS) at your hearing. If time allows, the Child Custody Recommending Counselor may attempt to reach you by telephone during the first 15 minutes of your scheduled appointment.
If both parties fail to attend Child Custody Recommending Counseling, the appointment will be "dropped" and the court will be notified. If this occurs, it is important that you still appear at the court hearing on the date scheduled.
What if I need to reschedule the mediation?
Once an appointment is set, it can only be rescheduled if both parties agree and both parties email email@example.com or call 916-875-3400 to request a different appointment, and FCS has availability to accommodate your request.
Will my child be interviewed?
If not court ordered, during your mediation the Mediator may determine they need to interview your child. It is your choice if you make them available at the time of the appointment, knowing that they might not be interviewed. Otherwise, during you scheduled mediation, you and the Mediator may need to arrange a different time for your child to be interviewed. Please be reminded that you may not be present during your child’s interview.
Children will be interviewed as follows:
- If the Court orders the child to be interviewed during your hearing, you must make your child available at the time of the scheduled mediation.
- Children will not be interviewed when allegations of possible safety issues are being investigated by CPS
- Mediators will interview children whenever the mediator is recommending a significant change in the current parenting plan
- In addition to the above, mediators will interview children at their discretion, based on the needs of the case
What if I have safety concerns?
The parties will meet together with the Mediator unless there is a Restraining Order (or one party declares under penalty of perjury that there is a history of domestic violence by the other party) and the protected party requests to meet individually.
If there is a Restraining Order in effect or an allegation of domestic violence made under penalty of perjury, the victim may have a support person present during the appointment. The support person may not attempt to participate, act as an advocate, contribute to a disruption, or violate the confidentiality of the session. The Mediator has the discretion to ask the support person to leave if they are unable to follow those rules.
What if I have additional documents I would like the mediator to review?
Generally, CCRC appointments are scheduled approximately 2 weeks before your scheduled hearing on custody and visitation issues. This gives you a limited but sufficient amount of time to submit documents to FCS. There are two ways to submit written information, which the Mediator will review before or after your appointment, but before writing their report:
- Through the required Family Court Services (FCS) Parenting Plan Questionnaire, which you will receive from FCS when your appointment is scheduled. This form should be completed and submitted to FCS before the day of your scheduled appointment. The Parenting Plan Questionnaire does not need to be served on the other party or parties.
- Through the optional submission of Additional Documents, which you or your attorney may submit before the day of your appointment. The Mediator will not review any Additional Documents submitted after your appointment.
In order for your additional documents to be accepted by FCS for review by the Mediator, you or your attorney must carefully follow the requirements below:
- You may submit no more than 10 single-sided pages of documentation.
- Each page needs to have a title or description at the top of the page.
- List each title or label at question #3 on the Proof of Service Form (FL-330) if personal service, FL-335 if service by mail, or POS-050 if serving electronically).
- All documents must be properly served on the other party/parties (or their attorney, if they are represented, and if you do not yet have your final Judgment/Disposition).
- Service must be made at least 5 calendar days before mediation for personal service, 7 calendar days for electronic service, or 10 calendar days if serving by mail.
- If you serve the other party electronically, you must also submit form EFS-005-CV with the POS-050, which verifies their willingness to be served electronically.
- The Additional Documents must be attached to the completed Proof of Service when submitted.
- Your attorney of record may submit a one-page, double-spaced, single-sided Attorney Input letter for the mediator to review. The letter must be on letterhead, accompanied by an original proof of service, and received at the FCS window prior to the scheduled mediation.
The only time the Mediator may speak to you is during your appointment. You (and your attorney) may not speak with the Mediator before or after the appointment unless all parties are present or have given their consent.
How do I get my mediation report?
After your appointment, the Mediator will write a report that is confidential and is not to be read by or given to anyone other than the court, the parties to the case, or an attorney of record. In addition, parties may not share the report or information within the report to anyone who is not a party to the case.
In certain instances, the court allows the verbal exchange of information to other agencies (such as Law Enforcement and Child Protective Services) within the justice system. Your report, however, is confidential and will not be released to anyone except the parties without a court order. Specific information regarding the release of your report and/or other data from your Family Court Services file can be obtained from Family Court Services.
If you reach an agreement with the other party on all custody and visitation issues, the Mediator will prepare a report with your agreement that will be available to you and the court before the scheduled hearing. You must attend your hearing if you want your agreement to become a court order that is enforceable.
If you reach a partial agreement or do not agree on anything, the Mediator will make recommendations to the court, outlining what they believe to be in your children’s best interest. If you do not agree with the Mediator’s recommendations, be prepared to explain to the court what you believe would be best for your children.
A copy of your report will be available to you and your attorney (if you are represented) through the Public Case Access System (PCAS). You will receive an email when the report is available online (generally 5 days before your scheduled hearing) and you will have 72 hours to review, download and print the report free of charge. If you miss the 72-hour window, you may purchase a copy online or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements to pick up a copy of the report in person. Either way you get your report, each party is required to have a copy available during the hearing.
At the time of the appointment, what should I do?
Mediations are conducted in person.
If you would prefer to appear by Zoom, please submit the Notice To FCS Of Remote Mediation Appearance form (FL/E-ME-827) to FCS no later than noon the day before your scheduled appointment. You may submit the Notice by:
- Email (FCS@saccourt.ca.gov)
- US Mail, clearly addressed to FCS; or,
- In person, at FCS in Room 104, after getting a ticket at Reception
Please arrive or be logged in to Zoom at least 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment time.